Muni Fisticuffs (update with partial translation)


Update:

Got a partial translation from a Chinese-speaking source. According to our source:

The two women started having an argument about an available seat. As the clip progresses with both women arguing, saying “Fuck you” and “you’re stupid,” a bystander said in Cantonese something akin to, “Don’t get excited, talk to her slowly.” According to our commenters, more than one bystander could be heard saying, don’t fight, don’t fight. As the argument escalated and the women begin physically fighting, a second bystander said in Cantonese, “Hit her, hit her, hit her, hit her until she’s afraid.” Then a third bystander pulls them apart as you can see in the video clip.

This whole exchange is really disturbing. Can anybody else verify what was being said?

– Eugenia

Original post:

Okay, this is really ugly. But we couldn’t not post it, could we?

We’re working on getting a translation for the lady not speaking English. We’ll update this post as soon as we get that.

(Thx: @ActionNewsSF and @pereljon)

143 comments

  • eugenia

    Whoa. What the hell happened? No idea how this fight started but the ladies sure are ANGRY! Translation coming soon, guys.

    • joey

      The lady should not hog up the seat, all i wnated was to sit……i didn’t bother her.
      If i was to be confronted like the lady putting her body and face towards me, of course the swearing and hell would snap!!!!!!!! / would’nt you????????

    • Folkwolf101

      I just have to say, after reading all the comments and the most consistent translations, I am tired of people saying that both women were at fault. One AA woman wanted to have two seats–one for herself and one for her bag. The 2nd woman (old Asian lady) was polite enough to ask to sit, then was allowed to sit down. While sitting down, she touched the AA woman’s bag on the seat while balancing both her own bags on her lap. The AA lady goes berserk with verbal abuse, taunts and physical threats. How can this be both women’s fault? Some commentators say that the Asian lady should not have said anything and just shy away. But, this happens all the time, and usually the big bullies gets to have their way. Usually, everyone backs down and lets the bully do whatever they want just to avoid confrontation. Asian gets screamed at, she retaliates monosyllabically with the little English she knows. She gets smacked in the face and she smacks back. To say that the meak old Asian lady was in any way at fault is ludicrous. The AA woman committed assault the very moment she initiated a physical and unprovoked smack. She should be arrested. Moreover, this is in Chinatown. This is a bus crammed with Chinese. AA woman was completely out of her element when demanding that she gets to have so much space around her when no one else was getting that. Hey lady, if you don’t like the heat of a crowded Chinatown rushhour bus, get and walk.

    • Ying Ma

      Here is a rough transcript of the video: http://yingma.org/2010/01/03/chinese-woman-beats-black-lady-on-sf-muni/. For everyone who does not understand Chinese, this provides a full English translation of the Chinese spoken in the video.

  • RachaelL

    Yeah, what the heck *are* they fighting about? So very odd. Glad I haven’t seen anything like this on Muni yet.

  • Hmmm…I happen to know a bit of Chinese. It seems that the lady was saying that she wanted to get a seat, but the black woman was blocking her. The Asian lady says “Excuse me”, the black lady lets her sit. After sitting down, the black lady starts to yell at her. In addition, the Chinese-speaking people were telling the Asian lady to “Hit Her! Hit her!”

    • eugenia

      That sounds similar to the translation I got from a friend. I only speak Mandarin so couldn’t make out what people were saying. I’m really disturbed about what went down here.

  • Mad props to the short-haired woman who hella calmed that shit down practically single-handedly! I want to give her some kind of reward! She was amazing! Loved that she told them they were being “immature,” and I loved how she told people, “Hold her back!” If I’m ever trapped in a building because of earthquake or fire, I hope I’m trapped with her because I’d know she’d know how to handle it.

    • Folkwolf101

      She hardly did anything, aside from saving the AA woman’s behind. Mostly, by her own words, she just wanted to listen to her ipod and could not get the volume loud enough to drown out all the hollering in the bus. When the fight escalated near to her, she got in the way, which soon led others to join in and restrain the old lady from taking after the AA woman. I think the real hero is the old lady who DID NOT do what everyone else has been doing in the face of such violence: she did not runaway but fought back againt a big bully. That is what has truck a deep nerve in San Francisco. That is the core of why this video has such a following. With her self-defense, in essense, she was saying NO MORE! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

    • Bob

      She’s a traitor.

  • Wowww. I agree with Sarah. Props to the woman who stepped in to stop it all.

  • Helene

    The Taishanese woman was upset that the African-American woman was being really stubborn about giving up the seat. I don’t know what the African-American woman was saying to the woman, too much overhead noise; anyway, the Taishanese woman said she didn’t do anything wrong prior to the punch, that the African-American woman had gotten very annoyed/rude about the extra seat beside her. Then, the African-American woman claims that the Taishanese woman had touched her bag, and that’s where the yelling began.

    • diana

      I was born in SF and I know that the black was truly thinking the the woman would just sit down, good for the Taishanese woman go girl. That Taishanesse woman did not want the womans bag, no money in it. Just move over and let the woman sit down.

      Born in San Francisco.

  • We’d better call the Jerry Springer show… or at least, put them on KRON-TV, they need the ratings.

  • Scott

    I’ll just be another person to say kudos to the woman who got in between them and really deescalated the situation. Watching this stuff is major downer but I’m actually feeling pretty good that there are people who aren’t just going to get out of the way, but really hold it down and let people know that this isn’t cool. That takes guts.

  • Scott

    PS I really don’t think it’s necessary to post this video. Yes, I did watch it, sort of guilty there. But really? This guy videotaping was probably enjoying it. Maybe the video would be useful if someone got seriously hurt and it could have been given to the police, but I can’t imagine it being much more than entertainment here…and we all see shit like that all the time on muni. Of course the fact that it’s two women fighting makes it more interesting to people, sadly.

    • Pereljon

      ENJOYING?? Dude… I was ATTACKED on the same MUNI bus a couple of weeks ago by a total schizophrenic junkie who randomly punched me in the neck on my way to work! Nobody did anything. The bus driver tried to call Muni central but they weren’t picking up, and when we got to my stop (Union Square) the guy just walked away (west on Geary).
      1) I wasn’t about to get involved in another fight on Muni on my way to work… and
      2) Filming it at least provides evidence and documentation of exactly what happened.
      3) And NO! I WAS NOT ENJOYING IT.
      The young Asian lady who stopped the fight was (in my opinion) a total hero. While I’m sure the video is entertain some people on YouTube, I think its important that this be documented and public. I wish someone had filmed the guy that hit me a couple of weeks back.
      The fact that is two women probably kept some of the guys from jumping in to stop the fight. I certainly thought that if I did, one of the women could claim that I was attacking her, or I might get in to a position where I would have to fight back against one of them. I just wish there was an occasional police officer on that route. It is ALWAYS chaotic and sometimes (as you can see) violent.

      • anh

        Amazing how this story has spread like wildfire! I’m the sister of the “hero” and must admit I past judgment on the taping of the incident. I now agree that had you not taped it this would’ve nothing more than another incident report added to Muni’s stack of reports that has done nothing but collected dust. Now that they are being ridiculed for their lack of concern, or training to say the least, they MUST take action. Kudos to you for that.

        About your incident a couple weeks ago, wish my sister was on the bus that day!

        • Tom

          Your fake hero of a sister could have stepped up and told the black woman to shut her trap, but she didn’t did she? She stopepd the fight cause the fight was coming to her and her passive ass didn’t want to get caught in collateral damage. The only hero was the woman who fought back from an aggressor, a bully and a racist.

        • Folkwolf101

          I agree with Tom, though I do give anh’s sister some credit for taking any action (when most people just sit and look away). But, yes, the real hero is the woman who didn’t take crap from the “aggressor, a bully and a racist.” Her self-respect and pride caught all of us off guard. Bravo!

    • Sonny

      This is so wild it conceivably overlaps into the “entertain” area. But let’s not forget documentation/evidenciary value since this has criminal aspects and regardless — perhaps more importantly — it has engendered discussion. It may also shows Muni in a less than positive light, though. Unsure since there’s only an absence of evidence that it did anything useful.

      Some folks bump you with their things, or take two seats, or cut you off. Others perceive standing in their shadow an an insult. When one woman hit the other, it’s a crime.
      Muni should have proceeded through its incident procedure and brought SFPD in. If this did NOT happen then this is perhaps another crime. I suggest the Asian woman call Len Tillum. I think the hitter loses on moral grounds and lost the fight. If she hadn’t got off the bus the Wrath of Blue would have torn her up.

    • James

      Scott, it’s unfair to criticize the person filming. First, you represent you are standing on some high moral ground and have the right to judge. Second, you assumed he enjoyed the conflict.

      The matter of fact is that this was a conflict between two people, and they should be left to resolve it themselves unless it has the potential to get dangerous (e.g. weapons, unfair size & age advantage, etc) . Conflicts happen and if you put yourself in between you’ll likely get hurt yourself.

    • Scott, about the decision to post the video: for me the video wasn’t “entertaining” in the least. It was uncomfortable, disturbing, and worthy of discussion about how we handle conflicts in the public space and safety in our public transportation system. In light of the translation there is some significant racial undertones in this exchange, which is worth addressing and discussing, in my opinion.

      Had the video been two men fighting, I would have posted it all the same.

  • Let me add my voice to those applauding the woman who interfered. Can you imagine how much more it could’ve escalated if that had not happened? Sometimes, easier said than done, especially after the assault has occurred, but yes, this woman deserves our praise, methinks.

    Scott: Our editorial policy here at Muni Diaries is to post those things Muni-related that aren’t simply hate rants or incitements to violence. This is something that happened on Muni, our “beat,” you could say. And from the discussion that’s ensued, we’ve gotten a better understanding, via the translations, of what went down. In addition, some of us are talking about the woman who interfered. In my mind, the discussion is healthy. Therefore, the post is worth it. Sorry if you disagree.

    • Pereljon

      This is NEWS. This is a violent event that I saw unfolding and documented. Should one of the parties choose to seek legal action the video contains plenty of evidence. Maybe its time to start riding my bike to work again.

  • But how much dollars are spent on removing collages?

  • Scott, I can understand your mixed feelings about watching the video. Jeff, I think you make a good editorial argument for posting it. I think that Scott’s comment–about video-taping instead of *doing something*–is well-taken. I teach English Composition (college), and this very week I began my media analysis unit with my freshmen. One of the things we are currently discussing is whether, in our increasingly image-based culture of “citizen journalism,” people choose “documentation” over “involvement”–meaning that more and more it seems that people’s first impulse in these situations is to record rather than to get involved. The woman who does get involved is so amazing in part because she not only succeeds in separating the women who are fighting, but also because she sees things through to the end, delivering commands to others to further deescalate the situation. Maybe if the dude recording had intervened instead of video-taping the incident, the fight wouldn’t have gotten physical. I’m not trying to criticize this particular person; rather, I just wonder about what seems to be our primary impulse to record spectacle rather than effect change.

    It was telling to me that the recorder noted the following, via twitter: “Major brawl on sf muni just now… Hey MUNI, how about some security on the buses through chinatown. Three weeks ago I was attacked.” While it’s awful that he was attacked (and perhaps that played in to his desire not to get involved), I’d rather live in a world in which citizens–not security guards–stepped up to the plate to help each other out; perhaps we wouldn’t think, “Where are the police?” as often if we knew we could count on each other for help.

    Besides, I almost never get a seat on my bus as it is; I don’t need a bunch of security guards crowding up the space even further.

    • Pereljon

      Hi Sarah… That was me recording… I was attacked (punched in the neck) on the same bus, so I my first instinct was not to get into another conflict on the bus. I walked away from my assailant that time, a junkie/schizophrenic who thought there was a genie in my phone and who was going to make alcohol come out of my phone (I KID YOU NOT). I’m quite sure that did play a part in me not wanting to get involved. And as a man getting involved in between two women fighting could pose more issues (like what I had to fight back against one of them??) However, I felt it was important to document the situation as I thought it was likely that something was about to happen. This video is documentation of a public situation, evidence of a crime (assault and battery), and is generating a lot of discussion – some good and some not so good (see YouTube for the latter).
      I do not agree with your distinction between “documentation” and “involvement”. It is a false distinction. Documentation IS involvement. Trust me. I was there. Two women were fighting. One woman stopped it. A whole BUNCH of people did nothing (heck, a muni guy outside didn’t even do anything0, but one person DID document it. Because it was documented we can now talk about it. It wasn’t pretty, but it DID happen. To me it speaks of one of MANY problems with the Muni system, and of a particularly chaotic Muni route. Where are the police officers? Where are the Muni officers? Where are the Muni video cameras? Honestly, I’d gladly give up my seat on the bus to a security officer if it made my morning commute safer.

      • krd

        These were two WOMEN. Yes very angry women but still, your ‘I was afraid’ line is a
        lame excuse on your lack of action and that of other “men” in that bus.

        • sfsinger

          Your comment is what’s lame, lame and sexist. Perhaps you haven’t joined this century yet and realized that a man can be hurt by a woman, many of us take self-defense classes so that we can defend ourselves against people who try to rob or assault us.
          The poster of this video wanted to avoid hitting a woman if at all possible, completely understandable. He also did something useful and important by documenting this.

  • Pereljon

    Oh… and I’ve annotated the video now…

  • Citizenal

    My Taishanese is a bit rusty, but at the end of the video the Taishanese woman tells a bystander that she was polite, but the black woman was (imperfect translation here) “hogging” the seat and when she moved to take the seat, the black woman (again, imperfect from a nuance point of view) “scolded” her.

    As a native San Franciscan and Muni rider, Muni can be a volatile mix where bumpy rides, crowded and unventilated conditions just get everyone a bit edgy. In the vast, vast majority of cases, no punches are thrown. So this situation is surprising that it escalated to this point, but unsurprising that the the conditions for it are pretty much there all the time. Add in race, culture and prejudice and we get an interesting cocktail of emotions. Thankfully, it was just fists (and feet) and no lethal weapons.

    Let me go to non-PC-land and say there are some riders who won’t dissuade others of the impression that an open seat next to them is not completely available. Some of these riders are black. I’d imagine for some of these riders, they have come to expect a level of deference on the bus, especially from immigrant Chinese.

    Perhaps, in this case, the deference wasn’t enough, or the Taishanese woman moved to take the “open” seat despite signals that it wasn’t welcome to be taken. The black woman may have expected to regain a level of dominance with a off-hand word or gesture. But, the Taishanese woman did not back down. Many Chinese people think poorly of blacks. However, they rarely openly confront blacks, but what’s muttered in Chinese or said out loud in Chinese is often not generous. In the case, the black woman may have misread the resolve of her erstwhile seatmate. What I saw was an unusual level of anger and fearlessness in the Taishanese woman that the black woman, if she intended to keep her seat, missed.

    As for the observers and the recorder, most of these situations just don’t get this far. I’m sure when he started recording, it wasn’t certain a physical altercation was going to happen. It all happened in less than 2 minutes. The entire incident. Most of us, honestly, hope the thing just resolves itself. We may throw in a “Just relax everyone” or “Can’t we get a long,” but until punches are thrown, what else is there to do? We’re just trying to get to where we’re going. I concur that the younger Chinese woman was impressive in her actions once the fight literally came to her. But, I wouldn’t judge the other riders too harshly.

    • James

      “Let me go to non-PC-land and say there are some riders who won’t dissuade others of the impression that an open seat next to them is not completely available. Some of these riders are black. I’d imagine for some of these riders, they have come to expect a level of deference on the bus, especially from immigrant Chinese. ”

      While we’re throwing generalizations around, let me submit that there is no pushier demographic while trying to board or get off Muni than middle-aged immigrant Chinese women. I mean literally pushy. So there.

      • and as a moderator of this site, let me say that these idiotic, not-adding-to-any-sort-of-constructive-criticism comments run the risk of deletion. we’re adults. we hope to be at least semi-intelligent adults capable of adding to a helpful discussion. gross generalizations of this sort will need to find another corner of the internet.

        • Daniel R

          Jeff,

          Have you seriously ever ridden buses that go through Chinatown? There’s a difference in behvaior.

          There’s more to culture than what food we eat. Culture is also the norms of behavior. Sure everyone is different, but it would be stupid to not think that culture helps inform behavior. Like the difference between a mid-Western American and say a Dutch person in Ansterdam – the difference is more than just who eats at Outback Steakhouse more often then the other.

          And it’s pretty true what ‘s Citizenal said. Most Chinese immigrants say some pretty nasty things about Black Americans. Coming from an Asian background, I’ve learned to realize that recent Asian immigrants are on of the most racist people I’ve known.

          Daniel

        • Daniel, Yes, I have ridden buses through Chinatown. I’ve also tried to get on a bus at Stockton and Sacramento. I’ve also seen all sorts of behavior everywhere I’ve been that could be neatly categorized into a pre-manufactured generalization about how a group of people behave or are supposed to behave.

          I merely mean to make the distinction here between comments that add to the discussion going on in the comments section, and those that detract. I saw James’s comment, however grounded in some truth, to be unnecessary. To me, it added absolutely nothing to the discussion, and instead, perhaps, helps perpetuate stereotype-informed attitudes. The kind that lead people to do really disgusting things like punch people in the face over a bus seat, for example.

        • James

          I guess I’m interested in why you saw that in my comments but not Citizenal’s. Of course what I said was a pre-manufactured generalization, one which was supposed to point out his. He brought race into it, not I.

        • James

          “Ooh, scary black people try to intimidate innocent Chinese! They crave dominance and demand deference!”

        • James, you’re right about some of Citizenal’s comments. I apologize for only using yours as my example.

          Another reason for my speaking up here in this thread of the comments is to let people know that hurling racial generalizations won’t be tolerated on this site. Both of your comments (you and Citizenal’s) toed that line. We left them up not because they inherently added to the discussion, but as examples of what not to do.

        • Jon

          I think posting this video is important and a step towards ridding aggressive people off of our buses. Being a person of color I found offense to this also. We have no clue how long this went on and what was done before this was recorded.

          Its one thing to point out that someone is wrong but the comment by Folkwolf101
          “She should be arrested. Moreover, this is in Chinatown. This is a bus crammed with Chinese. AA woman was completely out of her element when demanding that she gets to have so much space around her when no one else was getting that. Hey lady, if you don’t like the heat of a crowded Chinatown rushhour bus, get and walk.”

          Last time a checked this is America not just “Chinatown.” And where was the ADMIN moderation then? If something like this is happening its everyone’s responsibility to stop it!!! Its clear to me there is racial tension against blacks, fine but keep it neutral.

          • Jon, the point you make here is right. This whole thing happened so fast, we admins weren’t able to catch everything. And I for one didn’t do a good job of going back over the comments. At this point, I will merely comment them out, not delete anything. But your point tells me this is something I need to do. Thanks for commenting!

    • Citizenal

      With my original comment, I did point to elements of race in the situation. I didn’t bring it in. It was already there.

      In my view, neither of the women were in the right. However, any frank and constructive discussion about this incident must necessarily include discussing race. It may more politically correct to intentionally ignore race, but does that help? Does anyone feel anything more than quietly aggrieved in their own corners when one of the defining issues is left out?

      Rather, than reflexly claim the moral high-ground, would it be useful in discussing what each party brought to this incident? Would it be useful to discuss why we have the prejudices we have and how we can talk about them, then address and think about how we take responsibility for our actions in the future?

      Please indulge a hypothetical situation. What if the person asking for the seat was another black woman? What if the person was a middle-aged, white businessman? A young white woman? A Latino teenage boy? What if the person already seated was another Taishanese woman? A young white man? A Chinese girl? Honestly, would the situation play out differently? Does race not matter, even if we really wish it didn’t?

      I’m not interested in taking sides. I’m not interested in being right. I am interested in the honest and passionate conversation about what we all saw and, more interesting, what we all brought to it when we watched it. Collectively, we saw a lot of different things. We focused on different aspects of the situation and the comments. We all felt different things. We all may have felt an instinctive affinity to one party or the other…or an instinctive disgust for all parties. This is the interesting stuff. This is what I can learn from.

      By the way, it’s been observed that many short Chinese women with full shopping bags on Stockton street do push in an effort to get on the bus. It’s true.

  • Wow. I hope the recorder sends this to Muni.
    For the driver to not stop the bus and call for back up is unreal. For the Muni guy standing on the sidewalk not doing anything, that’s crazy too.
    That it took a young woman passenger to break up the fight, putting herself in danger in the process, that’s insane.
    What’s it going to take to keep people safe on Muni? Little kids get stabbed on the bus, the recorder gets attacked, and these two women get in to a stupid fight that is allowed to escalate to violence? Crazy.
    Glad no one else got hurt.

  • leader desslok

    It’s a seat for two people, not for one. If the black woman wanted two seats, let her pay two fares. Plus why so much heat on the chinese woman? The black woman threw the first punch; she deserved to be wailed on. This is the first time I’ve seen the public defend the starter of the fight.

    And the short haired woman who interfered with the fight; don’t think she even speaks Chinese…

    • I don’t think the heat is on either woman. Or perhaps, it should be on both. It is not clear to me how the altercation started. For me the heat is on the bystanders who egged on the fight. WTF, you know?

      At the end of the day I think both women are at fault. It’s never necessary to escalate a situation to verbal or physical violence.

      • I agree with Eugenia. Don’t let it get to the point where you’re screaming at a total stranger for something that probably wasn’t even worth the hassle.

    • Jon

      “Plus why so much heat on the chinese woman? The black woman threw the first punch; she deserved to be wailed on. This is the first time I’ve seen the public defend the starter of the fight.”

      Where do you see the black women being defended?! And what heat on the chinese women!? The black lady is wrong for punching the women surely. But what you fail to read is she gave up the seat. It is after the fact the altercation took place.

  • jagoff

    This kind of stuff happens on muni quite a bit. I have been victimized on muni and called 911, but the perps were long gone by then. I have also stopped fights between youngins on muni.

    Bus drivers will not get involved. Its just another day at muni.

  • Just so it doesn’t seem like everyone was egging on the Chinese woman to hit the Black woman, I wanted to point out that after the fight starts there is at least one woman saying, “please, don’t fight” in Cantonese… possibly the one who is sort of grabbing her at the arm to calm her down…

    so let’s give a hand to both young and old for trying to restore some order…

  • eltejano

    I saw this has spread to Matier & Ross who don’t mention any blogs or bother to get a quote from Pereljon

    • I wrote Matier and Ross just now. I also commented on their blog about our discussion here. It would be nice and … professional to give credit where they found it, wouldn’t you think…

    • Pereljon

      Matier and Ross got the wrong bus (it wasn’t the 20). I’ve already emailed with Andy Ross. I’m ABSOLUTELY AMAZED at the speed that this has gotten around. Hours after I posted it, kids and room-mates of my co-workers were showing the clip back to them. It’s a small world after all…

    • Pereljon

      Just got off the phone with Andy Ross. Very nice guy, BTW.

  • wendy

    This video is on dlisted.com too. Do you guys require some kind of credit?

  • sfmuniguy

    Did none of you notice who threw the punch. Not predictable much.

  • Dude! How come no one’s talking about that awesome kung fu kick the asian lady pulled off? Do you how friggin’ hard it is to kung fu kick people on a moving bus. I do.

  • mike hawk

    Bad move to punch that Chinese woman, she is the size of a small rhino. She probably takes craps the size of the other lady. She really lays down a whoopin’. The black woman is lucky they restrained her.

  • hmmm, i remember a time in the not-so-distant past when there was an intelligent, informative discussion going on here. crazy me: i thought it would persist.

    just watch yourselves, please. play nice.

  • Kim

    I wish that Muni drivers would enforce their authority more. When I see fights break out on Muni, I’m too frightened to do anything about it. I wish I had the balls to get involved but who’s to say that I won’t get beat up on for trying to break up a fight??

  • Just watched the story on the news. Depressing that the driver didn’t even report it. WTF? I realize that their first priority must be to handle the bus and avoid getting into an accident. But to not report the incident at all…not cool.

    Incidentally, we had a discussion about the video in my morning class. Jon, I mentioned to my students your comments (two of my students had seen the video), and we had a pretty interesting discussion about the power of image to spark discussion. One of the essays they read a few days ago makes the point that “images document the variety of nature’s peculiarities; language makes them comprehensible.” In other words, we understand image through language; if the fight is just something for people to “gawk at,” then the video does not have the same worth as when it serves (as it has here) as the springboard for a very necessary conversation. It is always particularly rewarding for me to have “real world” evidence for my students of the concepts they are reading about in class. I am always trying to get them to see that education is not just in the books or the classroom, but that the ideas we engage in are present everywhere, informing how we make law, make decisions, make sense of the world.

    The discussion of documentation vs. involvement (or as a kind of involvement, as you say it is, Jon) aside…what can be done about Muni? I agree with Eugenia and Tara that both women share equal blame for this fight. Though she felt wronged, the woman in the purple jacket has extremely aggressive body language, and she delivers her English words, “Fuck YOU!” and “You are STUPID!” with what seems a deliberate, almost baiting force. Meanwhile, the other woman yells back and then pushes things to the physical level. But as another commenter pointed out here, the conditions of a typical Muni commute (esp. on the buses)–constantly crowded, persistently late–definitely don’t help in keeping people from being “on tilt.” When I read the other day about the 38 BRT project not having support, I felt really dismayed! And like one person had said, I thought it was a done-deal, so I didn’t even realize the plans were in jeopardy.

    How do we go about getting a real, unified coalition together that can really effect change in this system? I truly care about having an efficient and safe public transit system, and I think if San Francisco wants to continue to tout itself as a “green” city, then we need to get more people out of their cars. But they’ll have no incentive to do so when they see very little improvement in what often feels like a very broken system.

    Sorry for the long comment. Someone needs to take a video of something incredibly cute on Muni so I can feel better. Riders?

  • steve

    Translation is not right. It should be removed or else it just escalates misunderstandings. Get a correction translation before putting it up.

  • N8

    I speak the dialect the Chinese woman was speaking, but missed much of it due to her rapid rate of speech. What is interesting is that the video started with one of the other passengers saying “hit her back” as the Chinese lady was angrily putting down her bags.

    After the altercation, the Chinese woman was explaining that the black woman had a bag on a seat and would not move it even after being asked politely.

  • Carl

    Anyone know whether something physical happened before the start of the video? I think I heard some guy say in Cantonese to “hit her back.” I think it’s just hard for me to believe that they stood up and got that heated just because of a seat.

    From watching the video, I instinctively sided with the Asian lady. Not just because I’m Asian but because it did seem like she was doing it to stand up for herself.

    • eugenia

      We’re not sure exactly what happened before the video. It’s interesting – another Asian friend told me the same sentiment about how he “instinctively sided with the Asian lady” and asked me if I felt that was somehow wrong of him. I don’t think there is a side to take in the fight because they were both needlessly confrontational.

  • searider

    A man’s voice at the very beginning of the video (at :01) says “hit her back” in Cantonese, just as the purple coated woman put down her bags. At :04 a woman’s voice says “don’t hit her, she’ll sue you.”

  • Ian

    Short-haired woman could have stepped in and tried to stop the verbal assault by both women…just saying.

  • searider

    You can really hear the hit to the Chinese woman’s face at 1:15. As the fight escalated a man’s voice says “hit her” over and over again. Sounds like the same voice that said “hit her back” at :01. At 1:35 a woman says “don’t fight, don’t fight.” Starting at 2:07 the purple coated combatant says something like “she was hogging the seat” and “I said to her nicely” and “excuse me.” And then she says “picking on Chinese people.” She’s got a really thick Taishan accent, maybe someone else can provide a more complete translation.

  • To correct the above statement, she does not have a thick Taishan accent, because the word “accent” would imply that she is speaking Cantonese with a Taishan accent. Totally incorrect. Actually, she is speaking Taishanese (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taishanese). So it is not an accent, it is just another language. Cantonese people need to learn that Taishanese is not an accent. If Taishanese was just an accent, it would easily be understood by Cantonese speakers, just as a New York accented English is easily mutually intelligible with California accented English. And with the apparent lack of understanding from all of the Chinese speakers above, it is apparent that Cantonese speakers cannot understand Taishanese. To summarize: this lady was speaking Taishanese, not Cantonese. For the other people who have already commented who assessed the situation with statements like “translation from Cantonese,” please get the facts straight. Again, this is not Cantonese, it is Taishanese. Taishanese and Cantonese are two completely different languages. If it was Cantonese, then all of the Cantonese people would understand, which it is apparent that they do not. There is no problem in lack of translation. There is a problem with lack of knowledge of the differences between Chinese languages. Taishanese does not equal Cantonese. They are separate. The problem is that you have too many Cantonese people trying to define other Chinese cultures (such as that of Taishan), and you have too little people from those actual cultures to tell the real story themselves. How can we trust a story that has been tinted by the shades of a different culture? It would be like if African American history was told all through the eyes of White people. Oh wait, it already is. So why do we let the same happen in the Chinese community? Taishanese do not try to tell others what Cantonese is, so Cantonese speakers should stop trying to act like the authority on Taishanese. The lady here was speaking Taishanese. Not Cantonese. Taishanese. End of story.

    Now, I speak Hoisan (which is the pronunciation of Taishan in the local dialect), and at the tail end of the video after the African American lady gets off the bus, when the lady starts explaining what happened, she refers to the African American lady in saying “She put her bag on the seat, and I said ‘Excuse me’ to her very politely to ask her to move the bag over, but she didn’t move it at all.” So for those other articles and people who say that “the exact reason why the fight began is unknown,” that is how it began. I don’t know where people got the term “hogging” from, because the Hoisan lady does not say that. She simply says that the African American lady was holding her bag on the seat, and she asked her politely to move the bag over, but the lady refused. This is when the fighting began. More people from the Hoisan community need to come out and tell the truth. Since so far only Cantonese speakers have been “translating” (or attempting to translate), I decided to tell exactly what happened. This is a translation from an actual Hoisan speaker.

    • Gil

      Many Cantonese speakers would mistook Taishanese as Cantonese with Mandarin accent. However, Taishanese isn’t totally unintelligible for the Cantonese. I can understand more than half of that woman said without learning Taishanese.
      Come on, the Chinese patriots don’t even call Cantonese and Mandarin as two languages. How can you call Taishanese another language from the Cantonese? LOL
      I think the greater threat of your language is from Mandarin rather than Cantonese now. The Cantonese can’t even protect their language from the invasion of the Mandarin.

      • Mitch

        Gil’s right about understanding Taisanese if you speak “Cantonese” (which is really a Hong Kong dialect of Cantonese, but generally called “Cantonese”). Taisanese is neither a separate language or merely an accent, but a regional dialect of Cantonese. Here’s the correct wikipedia link:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taishan_dialect

        And I don’t know about you, Gil, but I’ve never heard of a Cantonese speaking mistaking Taishanese as “Cantonese with Mandarin accent”. Unless you’re potentially referring to some person who learned Cantonese purely from an online course or from someone who’s never heard of Taisan. Heck, my wife, who’s never been to Asia but has been to San Francisco’s Chinatown (and has taken the 30 Stockton many a time) definitely can tell the difference between Cantonese, Taisanese, and Mandarin (and she’s white).

        So, to summarize, Taisanese is a dialect of Cantonese. Most folks who say they speak “Cantonese” actually speak “Hong Kong Cantonese” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_Cantonese), which obviously is a dialect of Cantonese.

        My dad’s parents and siblings speak taisanese. I speak HK Cantonese. We all speak Cantonese. Is Cantonese a dialect of Chinese, or its own language? Not sure about that one…

    • Terry

      I think you just infuriated more than helped w. your “thesis” of language differences – the basic point – not exact translation, was fairly apparent.

      • steve

        Why is there a invasion of Mandarin? You learn what you want to learn. What the bloddy hell are you talking about dialect threats. I speak three Chinese dialects and none has invade any one of them. I learned my hometown dialect as a child, grew up learning Mandarin, and was finally force to learn Cantonese after moving to Bay Area. Wait a minute? Cantonese invading my other dialects? WTF? But no, they are equally valuable to me and they don’t interfere with one another. You have a very narrow Canton-centric view. And yes i know, this is not the the point of the video.

  • searider

    Hoisan… dude, chill out, just trying to be helpful here. There was a lot of Cantonese being spoken in the video. At :52 it sure sounds like she says something about “hogging the seat.” And then at :57 a man’s voice chimes in saying “…hogging two seats” in clear Cantonese. Of course “hogging” is just an approximation of the phrase. A more nuanced translation might be “occupying space in an selfish way”, all in one word. Ah, the beauty of language.

    • Melissa

      “Occupying space in a selfish way,” I like that. To the posters above: I’ve often experienced shoving by older Chinese folks on the 30 Stockton, but it never felt rude, just matter-of-fact. I figure, you grow up in Hong Kong, you get used to the crush. I remember one tiny old lady in particular with a heavy rolling cart who pushed her way in front of me at Market & Stevenson stop. She was so surprised when I helped her lift her cart up the bus stairs, rather than pitch the expected straight-queue-honoring Euro fit.

      I see Chinatown as a micro-culture of people who are used to living in crowded conditions, grew up in the true land of hard knocks with no safety nets, and work hard to scrape by maintaining a large family structure. I’ve seen the 80 year old women out with grandkids strapped to their backs, carrying pink plastic bags full of produce for the dinner they’ll likely be cooking for 3 generations that same evening. Them old ladies is tough. I give them room, not because I’m afraid of them, or because they project an image of intimidation: I respect them because they’ve earned it.

      Some people here have said a bus seat ain’t worth fighting for, but when you’re tired & just want to sit down & you’re even polite and someone’s overblown sense-of-entitlement prevents that–well, it’s a worthy field of battle to some.

      Let’s go on not discussing race or culture or the entertainment factor of the video, but keep commenting “how-ever-could anyone-stand-aside-and-do-nothing!?”, and “how uncouth!” & “who can lead us to the MUNI promised land?” because that’s a more civilized, idealized, and sanitized world that we all wished we lived in, but don’t. I think some of posting/moderating don’t even ride the bus–and if you do, you certainly don’t sit in the back– because you’re so shocked at this kind of behavior, and that some of us hoi polloi see it as justified rather than senseless. But I guess you’re better socialized than me, the Chinese & Black ladies, three. Do you think us three ladies with beef run blogs with user-generated content? Sheesh. Shocked, and ashamed, am I!

  • Gil

    The woman speaks Taishanese which I always think it’s a hybrid of Cantonese and Mandarin.
    As a Cantonese speaker, I only understand some 60%-70 of her speech depending on sentences.

    At 0:12
    “(I) told the f**king bitch to move but she didn’t” (個衰人搬野佢都唔搬呀)

    At 0:13
    “Bullying the Chinese. You also bully the Chinese.” (哈,蝦中國人!)!! 你都係度蝦中國人?!
    I guess the Taishanese woman also scolded the “total hero” woman.

    At 2:06
    “Chinese people have finished” 中國人完蛋
    I guess she thinks the black woman means it.

    At 2:07
    “She hogged the seat and said thank you. ” 佢霸住個位話唔該晒…
    I don’t get what she said later.

    At 2:25
    “Bully us Chinese… Restore our reputation” 蝦我地中國人呀…恢復我地聲譽
    I skipped the middle part because it’s intelligible for me being a Cantonese speaker.

    At 2:30
    “good voice good air” 好聲好氣
    That means “in good manner” in Cantonese/Taishanese.
    The Taishanese woman said she was in good manner.

    • steve

      It’s not a hybrid. It’s a totally different dialect. There may be similarities, but they are different.

    • vampz

      AT 2:07 if u listen to it closely you will hear something like this, “区霸主个位,话唔该晒” that meaning is the dark color skinned lady was hogging the seat and i said, “excuse me”.
      Then she said she continues asking the color skinned lady to move the bag to let her sit but she didnt move at all and then the Taisanese lady got scolded at for continue asking for the seat.
      Near the end 2:25 虾我地中国人啊,我地全集起来,恢復我地声誉,Bullying us chinese, we will stand united, and restore our reputation.People in background saying 系咯,系咯…meaning “yes” or “agree”.
      TaiSanese is one of the major Cantone or Guang Dong dialects. They might speak cantonese or madarin when working or out with community but hell lot of them are Taisanese backgrounds. Me myself are TaiSanese, Born in TaiSan moved to HongKong then to the US. so i had learned Taisanese/Madarin/cantonese before moving to HK in age of 5 then to US at age of 6. Taisanese, Cantonese,Mandarin or any other dialects are much important as each other. ^^

  • Mitch

    Gil, your translation is a bit subjective and inaccurate.

    I won’t go through the whole translation, but “衰人” does NOT translate to “f**king bitch” in the slightlest. It LITERALLY translate to “BAD” and “PERSON”. Okay, and in the world of chinese offense, there’s a hell of a lot of difference between “bad person” and “f**king bitch”.

    Also, the first intelligible worlds out of the chinese person (at 0:05) translates literally to “stop sound(or voice)”, but translates usually manner-wise to something between “be quiet” and “shut up” (in other words, really not that harsh a response to whatever had been said by the black lady before the start of recording).

    Also, for those who don’t understand ebonics, I’ll repeat what was said by the black lady at 0:17, “Put yo’ hands on me and I guarantee you won’t walk off this bus”, which basically translates to “Touch me in any way and I’ll beat you physically till you are either knocked out, damaged to the pointed of not being able to walk, and/or dead.) Now, I’m not black, so forgive me if I mis-translate “…I guarantee you won’t walk off this bus”.

    Now, the phrase about bullying chinese was by the lady sitting down, facing front (and across the aisle from the recorder dude and with her back to the pair of women). It was in no way directed by the hero-chick (who happens to be wearing a cute top, showing off her well toned arms, but I digress…)

    Anyway, it’s hard to be impartial, especially when we miss the beginning, but when one lady basically responds by saying “shut up”, and then the next lady responds with a death threat, and then actually starts by striking someone in the face, I don’t agree that they EQUALLY share the blame. I don’t get into a lot of fights, but when someone punches my face as a FIRST strike, any strikes by me are pure self defense, and it’s all adrenaline at that point.

  • jin hoisan

    Hoisan,

    Wow, all that typing and not really saying much. While I agree that Hoisan-wah is not an accented Cantonese, I do believe there are accents within the dialect. It’s all relative. Someone from hoiping will think a person from sui-bu has an accent, and vice-versa. (hoiping and sui-bu are districts within the county of hoisan)

    you wrote: “So for those other articles and people who say that “the exact reason why the fight began is unknown,” that is how it began. I don’t know where people got the term “hogging” from, because the Hoisan lady does not say that. She simply says that the African American lady was holding her bag on the seat, and she asked her politely to move the bag over, but the lady refused. This is when the fighting began. More people from the Hoisan community need to come out and tell the truth. Since so far only Cantonese speakers have been “translating” (or attempting to translate), I decided to tell exactly what happened.”

    Now you’re really reaching and ASSuming how the fight started based on what one of the combatants said. Crucial things may have transpired that were not filmed.

  • Jay

    From what I could understand clearly, it seemed like the Chinese woman was explaining to the other passengers at the beginning and end that “I asked her in a normal polite way if I could take the seat, (then the filmer’s speech interrupted with “Another day on the MUNI) and she wouldn’t let me sit!”

    The woman in front with the glasses sounds like she was saying “don’t let her bully you” (ha nay). Actually, I don’t think there is an exact English translation, but something like “harass” or “bully” or “intimidate.” Then both of fighters exchange angry words, and the Chinese woman again explains to the other riders what happened. That she “asked her politely to move her bag and the other woman in response starts yelling at me!” she was genuinely shocked by the African American woman’s response.

    She also says “What is she saying?” (about the African American woman) when she points her finger at the African American woman. More explanations and exchanges of angry words. Then the African American woman throws the first punch and you hear it after she challenges the Chinese lady to “say it again.” The Chinese lady says the F word. Then the African-Amer. throws the punch.

    I don’t understand how anyone can defend the woman who threw the first punch, hard in the other woman’s face. Why isn’t the woman moving her bag when asked to on a crowded bus? The Chinese lady held her own, defended herself from getting hit anymore.

    Why don’t the MUNI cameras all work after the 11-year old got stabbed? They raised their rates 25%, what’s that used for? I’ve been intimidated, threatened, harassed by teen kids who happened to be the same type every time, blasting loud music, travel in packs, cuss and swear loudly, spraypaint/graffiti and sadly, usually the same ethnic group. Guess what that would be? I would welcome the stereotype to be something different just for some variety. I’m glad this got captured on film, perhaps MUNI, with the mounting evidence of violence, traffic accidents, etc. will do a major overhaul of the system, spend some of that increased fare on security/safety.

  • Michael

    Way too much credit is being give to the “young Asian” woman who stepped in. Calling her a “hero” is a huge stretch. After watching the video about dozen time this young Asian woman really didn’t do much at all. The older Asian woman continues to attack the black lady even as she’s getting off the bus. The young Asian woman was really just caught in the middle and only by dafualt may have hindered the angry Asian woman from causing permenat brain damage to the black woman. Personally, I found the entire event very comical and will continue to watch the video when I need a laugh. In my opinion, the one who throws the first punch (in any fight) deserves the worst… and this is exactly what happened.

    • anh

      Michael, I think your missing the point. Of course it didn’t take a “hero” to do what she did and that was simply to say “stop.” Or in her words, “f****** stop.” The question is, what stopped everyone else from doing it? It’s the bystander effect and I myself find it interesting. What’s obvious now is that the hype isn’t over a bus seat, it’s now become a racial firestorm as well.

      It’s funny to me that you say she “didn’t do much at all” and yet you think she “by default may have hindred the angry Asian woman from causing permanent brain damage to the black woman.” Intersting comment.

      • steve

        Well, lets think about this. She is speaking English to a Chinese immigrant who can’t speak Cantonese (the chosen Chinese dialect to be spoke in Bay Area Chinese people, I know I came here only speaking my hometown language and had to learn Cantonese) and only knows her hometown dialect of Taishan and a few words of English. For all I know, her attempt was hopeless. If she really wanted to step up to help, it should’ve been when they were arguing. Perhaps, she could’ve helped translate for both parties and calm both individuals. I hated when she gave “the look” at the Chinese lady. It was as if she is disgusted by the Chinese lady. I digress. But the true hero, is actually the old lady(i assume) w/ the light blue sleeve that speaks in Chinese telling her to “don’t fight, don’t fight” in a calm and understanding voice, knowing exactly how angry the Chinese lady must have felt, but to let it go. That has been the Chinese way….sadly. I have seen Chinese being bully all the time growing up in SF…and we do let it go way too often.

        • Emily

          I personally dont think the young lady was considered a “hero”. She was brave to take action but was she acknowledged about what they were fighting about?!?.I do not think so….She said. “you are being immature and then disgusted face” that’s not immature. it’s self defense. I would have done the same if someone hit me. I am glad she took a stand for those who had been pushed around or bullied on the bus. I tired of african Americans or just people in general taking advantage of people and disrespectful. (even calling names or something sexual ) Just because of the language barrier or vulnerability. I hope this video stops others from being picked on because of their nationality. Muni has a horrible security system. They should definitely enforce working cameras and maybe more muni officers on buses. Bus drivers should do something about people getting on the back for a free ride. It’s ridiculous how poorly our public transportation system is. Muni should take some immediate action and do something about it. The city wants us to all commute by the form of public transportation. I think not. It’s utterly unsafe for citizens and especially old people. The black lady did not even pay $4 to sit on two seats so why hog it? Kung fu ma pulled some jet li, bruce lee and jackie chan on that black day! The video was the highlight of my day.

  • Declined to State

    The biggest concern here – is WHERE WAS THE BUS DRIVER? HE/SHE SHOULD HAVE STOPPED THE BUS AND IMMEDIATELY APPROACHED TO DISPEL THE ESCALATED SITUATION AFTER CALLING DISPATCH AND 911. The bus should not have moved until a police report was taken. I hope the victim files a claim against the City and County of San Francisco for this. Seems the only way the City learns a lesson is to get sued.
    By the way, I believe this was on the 30 – a very busy line. Hey, Muni, how ’bout you add some more coaches to that line during peak hours so people aren’t on top of each other? I see 3 empty 30s go by in the middle of the day, and too many overpacked 30s running at peak commute hours. Can’t you fix that?
    We are so tired of Muni’s chronic “ball dropping.”
    As to the two women who fought – one was tired of being disrepected, and one was commanding respect when she did not deserve it. Those two women lost it, and they should both be ashamed of their poor judgment. I hope they will learn from this experience, take responsibility for their own actions and not simply blame the other as the only party at fault.
    As for the lady who stepped in – kudos to her. I did a similar thing on the Muni a few years ago where a young black man assaulted a nerdy white guy, for no reason. I stepped in even though several able bodied men were there. I’m a small woman! But, you know, I could have been attacked and “hero” lady could have been attacked. It was dangerous for us to step in. MUNI? COPS? Where were you?

  • Jay

    Hey Declined to State, I totally agree with your posting except that I can’t say the blame for the two women were equal. The woman who refused to vacate one of the two seats she was occupying on a very crowded bus and then threw the first punch, seemed to be the instigator. It seems like the Chinese woman was really shocked by the response she got because as she said, she asked politely and the other woman started shouting as a response. If the Chinese woman had not punched back, she would have been pulp.

    • it’s also worth noting the different body language of these two individuals.

      the asian woman is relatively passive (her shouted obscenities aside), while the black woman is clearly being the aggressor – gesticulating and pointing her finger in the asian woman’s face.

      it’s pretty clear to me that what happened was that a bully (mis)judged a book by its cover and ended up getting hold of a tiger by the tail and wanted nothing more but to let go of it.

      the black woman seemed to be relatively calm out on the street, all of her violent rhetoric (“put your hands on me again, i guarantee you won’t be walking off this bus” (0:22) e.g.) aside.

      kinda reminds one of the primate exhibit at SFZOO

  • Xie

    Finally! Someone stands up to these ignorant black people that think just because they’re black and have “ghetto attitude”, they can intimidate whoever they want without any repercussions. Immigrants (Chinese, Thai, East Indian, etc.) come to the States for a better life and have to face the harsh reality that is “black” America. The blacks with their “gangsta” attitudes, who think that the United States (and everyone who lives there) “owes” them. That black lady who started the fight was pushing her attitude around, not letting the Chinese lady sit down, thinking the other lady was not going to do anything – – why? Because: (1) she couldn’t speak english; and (2) she was some stupid immigrant.

    Of course, the majority of Chinese people (and any immigrants on that bus) wanted that Chinese lady to stand up for herself. After years & years of black ignorance, attitude, and social bullying, I’m surprised everyone didn’t stand up and start clapping after that black lady was put in her place. She thought that she could intimidate some stupid immigrant? She thought that the Chinese lady was going to be all submissive and say, “Oooo! So solly! I no sit in empty seat! You right! I so stupid!”.

    Bravo to that Chinese lady! I’m sick of these black people pushing immigrants around. At least that black lady will think twice before doing something like that again. (AND – the black lady punched that Chinese lady first. )

    • eugenia

      Xie, you are addressing a sentiment that I have heard before, this tension between Asian and blacks, particularly between Asian immigrants who speak limited English. I will be the first to admit that when you don’t speak proficient English or when your English is heavily accented, people often perceive you as less intelligent or capable. I am a first generation immigrant myself and English is my second language, so I’ve experienced this personally and seen it with my family.

      And yes, the Asian cultural emphasis on being submissive and passive often does not work in a lot of situations. This, in addition to language barriers, is the source of a lot of angst.

      Language and culture may have caused tension between the Asian and black communities, but I feel that it is not useful for you to suggest that in this fight, somebody should be “put in her place.” Nor is it helpful for you to suggest that in this case, the black woman was trying to “push immigrants around.” That’s just yet more racial generalization that doesn’t change the situation at all.

      We haven’t seen how this fight started, nobody has talked to either woman, how does anyone know what was going on that started this fight and what was going on in the minds of these two women? How can anyone say who was right or wrong when most of us were not there on the bus to begin with?

      No matter what kind of tension exists between two communities, it doesn’t help to portray this fight as some kind of hurrah for one community over another. All this brings to light for me, at least, is that we have a lot of simmering tension that’s not being addressed, and we really need to figure out a way to address it.

      Eugenia
      MuniDiaries.com

  • Jo

    HAHHAHAHHAHHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHA HAHAHHAHHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA! FA YOU! FA YOU!!!! Reminds me of when my mom first learned the f-word.

  • Bus drivers are overpaid morons in SF. That’s the truth. They take their overtime money and drive like maniacs and dont do a thing other than act dumb.

    • i’m no bus driver, but how would you like it if you were expected to break up fights every day at YOUR place of employment?

      many of the people who are blaming MUNI drivers today are the same ones who wanted BART workers to pay for Wall Street’s sins yesterday.

      as an aside, whatever happened to them quasi-fascist “Guardian Angels” who used to strut around broadway a generation ago? are they still a going concern? why aren’t they out there “keeping it real”?

      • pereljon

        They could AT LEAST report the frigging incidents. They could AT LEAST stop the bus and call the police. Nobody is asking them to jump in and break up a fight. But they shouldn’t continue driving on the route as if nothing is going on. And if they pick up and phone to the central someone should answer instantly, muni or police, I don’t care. This isn’t just about the bus drivers. Its about the entire Muni system that is not taking security as seriously as it should.

  • calwatch

    Indeed, no one here has identified what someone should do when confronted by an angry person who acts like a jackass and refuses to move her stuff. (Remember, she’s not being asked to give up a seat, just only take up one seat.) Let it go and shrug it off? Get into an argument? Go passive-aggressive and take photos of them surreptitiously for posting onto Twitter, or making snide comments directed away from the person? (I’ve thought about doing that a few times.) Call the driver (who should be focusing on moving the bus through traffic)? Try to rally the passengers into shaming the person who won’t give up the seat? (Unfortunately there was no larger person on the bus who understood both English and Taishanese fluently enough to tell the black woman, in no uncertain terms, “I’m with her, and you need to move your stuff NOW.”) With all this talk about racism and what not, there is never any talk about what TO do.

  • jay

    This is why I stay away from riding the bus. This problem with two people acting like children, compounded with a language barrier. If I was the driver and had to deal with these two people, I’d throw them BOTH off the bus.

  • blkgurlwithwings

    A very sad day in SF, indeed! While I don’t speak the Asian woman’s language, and I am Black (although the African-American woman was speaking English, not Ebonics, mind you), I do know a thing or two about the number 30 and other buses that run through Chinatown. They are ridiculously crowded, lots of people get/push on free using the backdoor without regard for the driver, and God-forbid you ride when the children get out of school…..
    That said, we don’t exactly know what happened before the camera started rolling. We only know that the Asian woman “said” she “politely asked….blah blah blah”. Her interpretation of polite is probably different than the black lady’s. The black lady says….”don’t put your hands on me…blah blah blah”, which is a direct insult to some cultures—-mine, and the yelling begins. It is clear that there was a breakdown in communication. Both cultures were trying to save face. Yes, the Asian lady stood up for herself and yes she won the fight. Yes, the black lady threw the first punch. Yes, there were those who egged things on and those who tried to keep the peace. Yes, the young woman got thrown into the mix and may or may not have said anything had she not been confronted head on. Yes, the Asian lady kept the fight going out of anger/adrenaline/fear/shame/who knows why. What I don’t get is why no one sitting closer…maybe an English speaker….didn’t do anything sooner and why the bus driver didn’t just pull over. I myself have broken up many a fight….perhaps when I should not have gotten involved. Maybe it’s the teacher/nanny in me. I just can’t sit there and let things escalate. People just don’t want to get involved these days and it is a sad commentary of our times. Did anyone bother to tell the driver? Sometimes they can’t even hear what’s going on on the longer buses. Maybe he/she DID pull over at the first safe opportunity, but to not report the incident seems like grounds for suspension. Whatever the case, I will definitely be more aware when I ride MUNI/BART or AC Transit! Can’t wait to see how this all turns out!

    • again, it’s utterly ridiculous to expect MUNI drivers to act as cops or referees in spontaneous MMA events just because they happen to break out on the bus/train the driver happens to be working on.

      it is no less ridiculous to expect a worker in a bank to “stand up to” a bank robber.

      the MUNI driver has no idea whether any of these people are armed and with what. if anything, this speaks to a need for providing ARMED security on these routes (and of course this will entail an enevitable fare increase, but if people refuse to act with a modicum of civility what are you to do?)

      when i saw this video i was reminded of the incident in the ‘ceasar’s pizza’ place (or whatever iit was) in which a young (incidentally black) woman attempted to cut in line – a bystander made the “mistake” of letting his exasperation be known and the young woman returned moments later with a 300 pound gorilla who proceeded to administer an unwonted and undeserved beatdown to a man who “did the right thing”

      “doing the right thing” is as like as not to get you on a short ride to a long and narrow grave these days.

      it seems also that if these busses are so crowded that we need to be thinking about adding extra busses and routes – but the capitalists who (mis)rule us would rather we fought for ever scarcer scraps from their tables.

  • to all the people who are blaming the MUNI drivers or who otherwise lament the fact that they don’t “step in” or “assert their authority”, it might be worth considering that MUNI drivers, because of the cyclical and scheduled nature of their routes are vulnerable to being set upon later by revenge-minded types nursing a grudge.

    a society/people whose media/culture regularly glorifies and even wallows in acts of gratuitous violence and that regularly espouses the notion that in order to be “respected” one must be vicious and cruel and hard can-not but expect to see these sorts of eruptions.

    it might also be worth considering this in light of a famous dictum by karl marx, that the ideas of any given epoch are the ideas of its ruling class.

    we seem to have a particularly violent and aggressive ruling class and we are daily encouraged to emulate their behavior in the “fang and tooth” struggle for survival and the few crumbs they let fall from their over-laden tables.

  • ken

    i think the young woman who broke up the fight had just entered the bus. in the beginning of the video u can see the bus is in motion. just throwing that out there for the people who say that the young woman should have stopped the fight while the two were arguing.

  • Shawn

    I am neither from San Francisco, nor am I black or Chinese (actually I’m not even American); strolled onto this through a link online.

    Having said that I find it interesting that race must necessarily be brought into the conversation by other commenters here, when (from the looks of it) race did not appear to be a factor in this altercation. This could have easily been two Chinese people, two blacks, or whatever combination of any race in the world. It is telling that our own frames of thinking lead us to immediately recognize the race of the individuals and assume it somehow played a role. I guess we’re not quite at the stage of a “post-racial” world yet.

    • DoobieDubois

      I concur, Shawn.

      This is the most intelligent observation in this discussion. It’s beguiling that participants in this thread are actually choosing sides when the two parties engaged in the brawl are both equally thuggish, disgraceful and deserving of ridicule.

      I’m more disgusted after reading this page than watching the video.

      • zeitgeist

        There is nothing beguiling about this. The black woman is guilty of assault.
        Pretty simple case if someone wants to prosecute or sue.

        Also, Can anyone on that bus verify there was a previous assault prior to the filming?

        • DoobieDubois

          And WHERE in my post imply that she was not? What assumptions are you making? This women are equally buffoonish.

    • Melissa

      I guarantee you it would not be two well-socialized, upper-middle class white yuppies named Clare and Monica. They wouldn’t be on the bus, and if they were, not in the back. They also would not be tired from carrying heavy burdens that they would want to sit down, or, conversely, feel that their burdens themselves deserved their own seat. It might be two lower-class, less-educated black ladies if they were not defined “cuz”, or if they had prior beef. Two asian ladies–in this case–no, one would give the other one a seat out of simple respect. Latinas vs. whomever? I’ve never seen the non-gangbanging variety defend the glorious territory of their handbag’s seat before. We gotta talk size, age, social class–all sorts of facts & figures other than race–before I can give you the true odds on a righteous beat down.

      I’ve seen old Russian ladies and Chinese ladies almost get it on for the front seats on the 38 Geary. I think it’s because the Russian ladies just look old because that’s what the USSR will do to ya, while the Chinese ladies are actually old. That’s just my pet theory, anyway. If I had more data and drier language, I could call it sociology and you’d have to respect it.

      • DanB

        True. All Clare and Monica would do is scream obscenities at each other from their SUVs over a parking space on Chestnut.

    • Folkwolf101

      Sean, you are not from around here. So, naturally, you see two people arguing and assume it has nothing to do with race. Many of his here know first-hand that their is animousity between Blacks and Asians. We simply do not believe the instigator would have behaved the same way if another Black lady sat down next to her. That said, racial or not racial, the instigator was a bully intimidating an old woman whom one would not expect to punch back.

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